The San Diego County Water Authority is rolling out its $1.8 million advertising campaign that implores the region’s residents to stop using quite so much water.

The print spots and billboards feature an arid, desolate glimpse of the future — complete with a rotting, skeletal cow skull. To be clear on the skull’s symbolism: “That’s us,” said John Liarakos, the authority’s spokesman.

The campaign will run in two phases, first grabbing attention, then offering suggestions on ways to conserve. Some underlying themes: One person can make a difference; using a hose to wash your driveway instead of a broom is mildly idiotic; save water today or else your kids are going to have to move to Topeka.

Here’s a glimpse of the authority’s first TV spot.

The advertisements will run steadily through September, then back off as the region enters the autumn, when less water is consumed. The campaign is the authority’s largest since the 1987-1992 drought struck the region.

ROB DAVIS

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